We’re already three-quarters into the year, and your New Year’s resolutions may be a thing of the past. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t end this year with a bang and make some progress on your financial goals. Here are three month-long challenges to try for each month for the rest of the year.
1. Earn $100/wk Challenge — October
In October, like it or not, the holidays are right around the corner. If that makes your heart race with a little added stress you’re not alone. The holidays can be costly. There are gifts, parties, travel, and more. It’s a lot to deal with, and your bank account may not like you afterward.
That’s why it’s time to spend this month earning more. Challenge yourself to earn $100 more each week. It doesn’t matter how you earn it or if you make it in one fell swoop or over a couple of days.
To earn $100 per week, you’d need to make about $15 per day. What can you do to earn $15 per day for the next month? You can also consider side hustles that can pay $100 to meet this challenge.
For example, I used to work as a brand ambassador and work events like concerts and sporting events handing out samples and coupons. Those gigs would be 4-5 hours and easily earn me $100 or more.
You could do a wide range of things from walk dogs to graphic design, rake leaves to driving Lyft, babysitting to helping someone write a resume or dating profile. Think about the skills you have and what you can monetize!
You can search for gigs on Craigslist, TaskRabbit, Lyft, Uber, Postmates, Instacart and more. First, understand what your skills and interests are, how much time you have available and how much you will charge. Also, do whatever is easiest and motivating. For example, you may think it’s easier to make $15 per day whereas another person might find it more motivating to try and make $100 in one sitting.
2. Eat at Home Challenge — November
Be honest. How much do you go out to eat? How much do you go out for coffee? Even just lunch out at $10 a pop three times a week is $120 per month. For the month of November consider doing an eating at home challenge. That means no take out. No Postmates delivered. No dinner dates. Starbucks is a no-go (yes, coffee too).
It won’t be fun, but the good thing about month long challenges are they’re just a month! That’s it.
For this month, your grocery bill will likely be higher, but if you do it right, you’ll still be saving money.
For example, I just spent $40 for close to a week’s worth of groceries…when last week, I spent close to that amount on taking myself out for sushi. Ooops. All of this to say, your dollar goes much further in a grocery store than a restaurant.
Before getting started, consider meal planning first so you aren’t caught off guard. Have a list of go-to snacks and have coffee on hand, so there are no emergencies (that would be an emergency for me).
Also, you must follow the cardinal rule of having a list before you go shopping, and don’t go hungry!
To help you succeed and find recipes that are budget-friendly, check out the Budget Bytes blog. You can also check out frugal recipes on Pinterest as well or consider doing a meal exchange with your neighbors.
Doing this for one month can help put money back in your pocket for the holidays. Not only that, but when you do go out again, it can be more special and a novelty and not just a regular thing.
3. Minimalism Challenge — December
In December, it’s likely that you will give gifts and receive gifts. That means you’ll have more stuff! In order to prepare for that and also earn some more money, try a minimalism challenge in December and get rid of one item every day.
Each day you can pick an item you no longer use and decide if it’s worth donating or selling. You can sell your items on OfferUp, Facebook MarketPlace or Craigslist.
This challenge is great because it can help you look at all of the belongings you do have and assess how much you really use it. I tend to have a rule that if I haven’t used it in the past three months (and it’s not seasonal), then I don’t really need it. You want to keep things in your house that you actually use and that make you happy. Otherwise, it’s just clutter!
Having a clutter-filled house leads to a clutter-filled mind! Purge, release, and make more money!
Doing this for the month of December can make room for more stuff you might get for the holidays. But it can also curb your spending and change your relationship to your stuff.
You may realize how unimportant your stuff is or how you seem to collect things only for them to collect dust. You may realize what things you use consistently and what other things just take up space or don’t get a great cost-per-use.
It’s important to consider cost-per-use too. For example, if my espresso maker is $100 but I only end up using it twice a month, that’s not a great cost-per-use and is probably better off being sold.
If you want some inspiration, you can check out the Marie Kondo method, author of the popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This could lead to inspiration and give you steps to get started.
The holiday season and end of year is near but that doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel yet. Don’t get too comfortable and abandon your financial goals. In fact, now is the best time to prime yourself and get ready for the next year. You can gain momentum now and be ready for the new year, motivated and strong.